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Launch pad revisited

'Daily Show' alums move on up

Mo Rocca

Pre-“Daily Show” career: “I was a writer and producer for ‘Wishbone,’ a PBS children’s show about a Jack Russell terrier who, in his dream life, becomes the hero of classic novels. I was also a stage actor. I did the Southeast Asian tour of ‘Grease,’ and I was a consulting editor for a men’s magazine called Perfect Ten.”

Current activities: Promoting his book, “All the Presidents’ Pets,” and doing serious pieces for “Today” and less serious pieces for “The Tonight Show,” including a recent segment on the Mayan roots of Cancun Spring Break.

How he joined the show: “I have always been a big American research buff, and I was traveling around the country visiting presidential homes and grave sites, particularly the presidents you can’t remember were actually presidents. I was writing about them, and couldn’t sell the articles. My agent at the time said these would make great pieces on ‘The Daily Show.’ I didn’t even know what that was.”

On his “Daily Show” persona: “Maybe a little fixated — somebody who pursued something to a logical but absurd extreme. Whenever I interviewed someone with a particular obsession, I tried to adopt that obsession.”

Favorite segment: “The most fun I had was doing a piece in New Hampshire during the 2000 campaign, with Steve Carell and Vance DeGeneres, covering the Republican candidates forum. All of us had come from different backgrounds, so it was so much fun, and I felt so lucky to be able to learn from those guys.”

How the show helped his career: “It’s a backdoor entree into the world of infotainment punditry.”

Stacy Grenrock Woods

Pre-“Daily Show” career: “I booked acts at a club called the Viper Room, wrote for magazines and did comedy improv. And I went out with rock stars.”

Current activities: Writes the sex column for Esquire magazine and is penning a book for Simon & Schuster about growing up in California. She’s also working on a pilot for Fox TV.

How she joined the show: “I performed in an MTV pilot based on a magazine article I had written about buying random things from the classifieds. The show went nowhere, but the segment was seen by Comedy Central exec who called me at home one day and asked me to be on ‘The Daily Show.’ ”

On her “Daily Show” persona: “I didn’t know that we were supposed to have a persona. No one told me. I was just me, but it always ended up being a much grouchier version of me.”

Favorite segment: “The bingo cop, a septuagenarian in Atlanta who patrols the local bingo games.”

How the show helped her career: “People love ‘The Daily Show’ and figure if you were on it, you must be smart and funny and you will not laugh in high-pressure situations.”

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